Teaching English In Israel:
Land Of Creation
Teaching English in Israel is an unforgettable experience in several ways. Life in this sunny country, adjoining the Mediterranean Sea, is very different. Israel’s culture and ethos are unique. Secondly, Israel is a country steeped in history. The Biblical Holy Land is revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians. Third, the people of Israel with their hardy, enterprising attitude make wonderful hosts. Life here is unlike your experience elsewhere. We can assure you that at the end of your stint teaching English abroad in Israel, you will have had a culturally immersive experience which will forever enrich your life. You will return home with memorable insights that perhaps you would not have gained anywhere else teaching in the Middle East or infact the rest of the world.
Snapshot Of Israel
The Job Market For Teaching English In Israel
There are several opportunities for teaching English in Israel. The government promotes learning the language. Fluency in English is considered essential for Israel to build better international trade relations and business links. Tourism is a revenue earner and English language skills can help boost this sector.
The government’s acknowledgement of English as the global link language has opened the doors for English teachers in the country. At present, there are around 14,000 people engaged in teaching English in Israel who consider it to be the best country to teach English.
English is introduced in the school curriculum from the fourth grade. The school system in Israel has a three-tier system consisting of elementary, junior and high school. The elementary and junior schools are run by the country’s Ministry of Education. High schools have independent status but are affiliated to local bodies and municipalities. This means that the recruitment process for teaching English in Israel’s public schools is almost completely conducted by the government and its various bodies.
There are many different kinds of school in Israel. This includes public secular schools, public religious schools known as yeshivas, independent religious schools, Arab schools and private schools. The public secular schools teach history, math, languages, science and literature. The yeshivas follow the same curriculum, but also teach the Torah.
The independent religious schools also teach languages and other subjects. However, they are outside the ambit of the government and have their own recruitment process. Arab schools have Arabic as the medium of instruction. Private schools are mainly international schools. There are also private boarding schools. There are teaching opportunities in the Palestinian Territories. But the positions here are open mostly on volunteer basis.
There are several international schools in Israel. They offer American, French, British and German curriculums. If you are keen on teaching English in Israel, the international schools are the most lucrative financially. With an excellent work environment, it is also professionally rewarding.
Private tutors are in great demand in Israel, both by families and companies. Many companies hire language consultants. If you are planning on teaching English in Israel, it might be a good idea to explore the possibilities offered by private tutoring. You can check out with international companies and business consultants if they have positions open for language professionals.
Applying For Jobs Teaching English In Israel? How And When You Should Start...
The academic year in Israel is from September to June. However, most schools hire throughout the year. This is because new recruits have several formalities to complete before actually starting on their assignments. This includes taking additional certificate courses or Hebrew classes. Given the rigorous standards applicable for teaching English in Israel, it is advisable to start your application process well in advance.
Applying remotely may not give you the same advantages as being on the ground. Visiting private or international schools with your CV and offering to take demo classes is a good idea. Most Israeli schools will not settle for anything less than a face-to-face interview.
If you are unsure about whether you want to invest the money required to finance a job search while being on the ground in Israel, you can do the preliminary steps of the application process from your home country such as creating one of our Teacher Video Resumes until you have a few interviews lined up. It is likely that you will be able to finalize an employment contract only after you come to Israel for face-to-face interactions.
If you plan on teaching English in Israel as a language consultant with companies, then it might be possible to do the entire application process, including the interview, online.
Some Of Our Latest teaching Jobs In Israel
The application process is cumbersome and bureaucratic if you are applying to public schools. The steps involved, as per information provided by the Department of Languages – English, Ministry of Education, State of Israel, includes:
- Contact with the English district inspector of the area where you wish to teach.
- Submit the following documents to the inspector:
- all degrees and teaching certificates (originals and photocopies)
- transcripts from academic institutions
- proof of experience in teaching from previous places of employment abroad (including place of work, dates of commencement and conclusion of employment as well as position)
- Israeli Identification Card (teudat zehut) and/or an Israeli Immigrant Card (teudat oleh) if applicable
- During the interview, the inspector will review your documents, background and experience. You will then be invited to an interview with the acceptance committee.
- The committee will also review your documents and determine the grades you are eligible to teach, and any further requirements you must fulfill in order to receive certification (training courses etc)
Once you have fulfilled the above criteria and a school is willing to hire you, the principal will submit a written request to the Ministry of Education. You will be offered the job if and when the Ministry approves the financial assistance the school requires to hire you.
The Qualifications You Need For Teaching English In Israel
You have to fulfil several stringent qualifications and requirements before you can start teaching English in Israel. Here is the complete list:
- You must have a BA or BS degree. Teachers must have a degree from a recognized academic institution. You will have to get the degree approved by the Israeli Ministry of Education. If you are from a non-English speaking country, you are eligible for teaching English in Israel only if you have graduated in English.
- A TEFL certification is preferred but is not mandatory
- You must be able to speak Hebrew. If you are not fluent, the Ministry of Education offers special Ulpan courses for teachers to learn the language. The courses are held throughout the country and the duration is between 6-9 months.
- You must have an Israeli teaching license. If you already have a teacher’s license from your country, then you must sign up for a one-year subsidized retraining course that lasts for the entire school year.
- Requirements for entry into such a program include possession of an Israeli Identification Card (teudat zehut), an academic degree (a degree in English if the degree is from a non-English speaking country), teaching credentials from abroad and Hebrew proficiency at a post-ulpan level. If you do not have a teacher’s license from your country, you have to join the retraining courses for academics in the Teacher Training Colleges. You need the Israeli teacher’s license before you can start teaching English in Israel.
- You must have a PhD to apply for a job in an Israeli university.
How To Get A Visa To Start Teaching English In Israel
To work legally in Israel, you need a work visa and work permit. Work visas are normally for a period of 30-days. You need the work visa for your initial entry to the country. The school will have to submit certain documents to the Ministry of Interior, while you simultaneously start the documentation at your local Israeli consulate or embassy.
The documents for a work visa normally include:
- Valid passport
- Application form
- Medical certificate
- Fingerprint forms
- Certification of good conduct
- Two passport-sized photos
- Signed document from employer/employment contract
Once you have your work visa, you can apply for the work permit. It is a complicated process, with documents to be submitted to several government ministries and departments. It is highly likely that you will have to apply for an extension of your work visa, before your permit is granted.
The steps involved in getting a work permit for teaching English in Israel:
- As your sponsor, your employer will submit an application for a work permit to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labour.
- Once the ministry approves the application (4-8 weeks), a letter of recommendation will be sent to the Ministry of Industry.
- Meanwhile, you have to submit an application for a work permit, along with required documents, to your embassy/consulate. They will forward the application to the Ministry of Industry.
- Once the Ministry of Industry approves all the paperwork, the embassy/consulate will issue your work permit.
The Salary & Working Environment Whilst Teaching English In Israel
The basic salary for Israeli teachers in the public-school system varies between $500-$700 dollars depending upon academic degree and seniority. Salaries may go up to $1500 in private schools. Teaching experience abroad will give you an advantage while negotiating. Schools rarely offer to reimburse air fares or provide a housing allowance. But you are eligible for salary increments if you take courses for professional development or sign up for additional academic courses.
Schools have either a six-day or five-day week. In elementary schools, a full-time teacher will have 26 hours of teaching per week. Five hours per week is set aside for individual teaching and five hours for department meetings and other academic-related work. In junior and senior high schools, you will have 24 hours of teaching per week, six hours of individual teaching and ten hours for school meetings and other work.
In addition, teachers get approximately two months paid vacation in the summer, one week before and during Passover, a week during Sukkot, plus additional Jewish holidays and Israeli national days. The classroom atmosphere is often relaxed and informal.
One of the advantages of teaching English in Israel is that there are good opportunities for professional development. New teachers can attend counselling sessions organised by the English Inspectorate. There are also several in-service courses for English teachers. The English Teacher’s Association of Israel holds professional conferences throughout the school year.
Since the cost of living in Israel is high, most teachers take private tuition’s to supplement their income. Private coaching is lucrative and you can earn between $20-$50 per hour.
The Cost Of Living & Savings Teaching English In Israel
Teaching English in Israel is not lucrative as the cost of living is high in the country. However, you will be able to meet all your expenses. The State of the Nation Report 2017 published by the Taub Center stated that the cost of living in Israel is one of the highest among developed nations.
The report adds that Israel’s price index was 23 percent higher than the average of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Prices in Israel were higher than that in rich Western nations such as the US, France, Germany and Luxembourg. Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East. It ranked 15th in the Mercer Cost of Living survey (2019).
Given the high cost of living, it might be a good idea to look for shared accommodation. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will be at least $1000. The rent for a similar sized apartment further away from the city will be in the range of $700-750. Your utilities bill will be an additional $200. This includes electricity, gas and garbage collection. In addition, you may also have to pay house committee levy. This is basically maintenance cost for the common areas of the apartment complex or building. Depending on how upmarket the apartment block is, the charges can vary between $20 to $80. Internet and pre-paid mobile will cost $25-$30.
If you are in the habit of eating out often, you may have to cut back on this indulgence while teaching English in Israel. Eating out is expensive. The bill for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant can be as high as $20. If you decide to splurge out on a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant, the bill can go up to $70 and more. A beer with your meal and a coffee to round off dinner will set you back by another $10.
Fares for public transport are lower in Israel as compared to western countries. There are taxis, local and intercity buses. People also use shared taxis which are known as sherut. These are mini vans which ply along fixed routes and carry 8-10 passengers. A monthly pass in the public transport system is priced at $60. Taxis charge around one dollar for a one-kilometer ride. If you plan to travel around the country during your stint teaching English in Israel, your best bet would be to plan your trips using intra-city buses and trains. This is the most economical way to see the country.
You will also have to pay more for groceries than you probably expect to. In the year 2018, food prices in Israel were 19 percent higher than the OECD average.
Israel is often regarded as a religious destination. However, there is a surprisingly vibrant night life in the country, especially in Tel Aviv. In addition, there are museums and other cultural centers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A movie or theater ticket is priced between $11-$20. If you are a gym person, you might be in for a bit of a shock. Signing up for classes at a local fitness club can set you back by at least $70 per month.
Given the high cost of living and the low salaries, there is little chance of any addition to your savings while teaching English in Israel. You can, at best, break-even.
Places To See And Things To Do Whilst Teaching English In Israel
Israel has beautiful beaches, lovely historical monuments and stunning natural monuments. Before you finish your stint in Israel, there are several places to see and things to do.
Visit the lowest place on the Earth:
A visit to Dead Sea is a must for all those who come to Israel. At 434 meters below the sea level, the Dead Sea is a place like no other. With a 10 times higher salt concentration than normal ocean water, you can spend a day floating on the waters. Rich in minerals, the Dead Sea is reputed to have healing properties.
Do A Beach Tour:
Israel has several beaches where you can let your hair down and spend a relaxing weekend. Tel Aviv itself has several beaches. However, if you want to venture out further, we recommend beaches to the south of Israel at Eilat. If you want something extra in addition to the normal beach experience, visit the Caesarea Aqueduct Beach. Exploring the ancient aqueduct and other monuments built by the Romans is an interesting experience.
Soak in some history:
Israel is an ancient land that holds religious significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims. The atmosphere and stories that the monuments retell about our past can make a lifelong impact. Some of the historical places that is on the bucket list of visitors to Israel include the Old City in Jerusalem, the Church of Nativity at Bethlehem and the synagogues at Tsfat.
Explore the great outdoors:
Israel is a country of stunning beauty with a diverse landscape. From hiking in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve to exploring the geographical formations at Rosh Hanikra, Israel is a great place for those with a spirit of adventure and fun.
Teaching English In Israel: Our Final Thoughts
Teaching English in Israel is a ‘different’ experience. If the idea of working abroad is to make money, then this assignment is not for you. There is also an element of uncertainty regarding personal safety in the country. However, if you would like to spend some time in a truly unique part of the world learning about the past and how the world has adapted to changing circumstances over the ages, then teaching English in Israel is a great option.
International Teachers Experience Teaching English In Israel On YouTube
Some Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching English In Israel
Yes English is taught in Israeli schools. English is taught in public schools from the third grade to high school. English is the 3rd most spoken language in Israel behind Hebrew and Arabic. Israeli students have to pass English oral and written tests to receive their Bagrut (matriculation certificate). Most universities also require a high level of English as a prerequisite for admission.
English is very popular and common in Israel. Roughly 85% of Israel speak some level of English and this is due to the heavy tech industry and entrepreneurial spirit of the country to progress in the tech field
Yes English teachers are in demand in Israel. If you have experience teaching STEM subjects you will have a lot of job opportunities teaching in Israel